Attacks on a computer’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) do not receive a lot of attention, and protecting against them is often not a priority, but they are on the rise, say researchers at The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit research organization funded by the U.S. government. The MITRE team is developing tools to protect against BIOS attacks and is searching for organizations to help evaluate those tools.
SIGNAL Online Exclusives
As the U.S. Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) continues to build on its positives and address its challenges, progress is being made in acquiring more capability from small business through efforts at the event. An official with the service branch says the Army is aware of challenges faced by these smaller companies. With the recently established formal request for proposal (RFP) process in place, industry partners including small businesses can compete for contract awards to provide qualifying vendors with funding to participate in the evaluations.
The U.S. Navy is working to incorporate information dominance as a key part of its future warfighting tool kit. As a part of this ongoing effort, the sea service is standing up a new force dedicated to information dominance, which will tap into many cutting edge capabilities such as cyberwarfare and unmanned systems.
The U.S. Defense Department launched a new competition to promote cybersecurity education and training in the nation’s military service academies. Beginning last November, the three service academies created teams to compete in the Service Academy Cyber Stakes, which culminated in a major interschool event held over the weekend of February 1-2 at the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has deployed the initial version of its unclassified mobility capability, which will provide military and civilian Defense Department personnel with access to a wide selection of mobile devices, applications and services.
DISA’s Defense Department Mobility Unclassified Capability (DMUC) version 1.0 was released on January 31 and will be built out in increments to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year, according to DISA officials. The program currently supports some 1,800 unclassified mobile devices: the iPad 3 and 4 tablets, iPhone 4s and 5 smart phones, Samsung 10.1 tablets, Samsung 3s and Motorola RAZR. The program also supports 80,000 BlackBerry phones.
The U.S. Army is changing direction in how it manages systems as recent sustained conflicts draw to a close. Soldiers are moving away from the programs that developed stovepiped network operations (NetOps) solutions for particular needs and domains, transitioning to integrated capability sets.
Scientists and engineers from MITRE Corporation and Harvard University published a paper this week revealing the development of what they call the most dense nanoelectronic system ever built. The ultra-small, ultra-low-power processor could be used for tiny robotics, unmanned vehicles and a broad range of commercial applications, including medical sensors.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is building on the success of the initial round of its Secretary’s Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative by expanding the program in 2014. Officials launched the second installment earlier this academic year, opening to a wider audience with more opportunities at an increased number of agencies.
The U.S. Air Force is moving aggressively to modernize its information technology capabilities to ease its move to the Defense Department’s Joint Information Environment (JIE). The JIE will enable a shared information technology architecture, services and infrastructure across the entire military. But to reach its goals, the service will need to close excess data centers and improve its security policies, explained Lt. Gen. Michael J. Basla, USAF, the Air Force’s chief information dominance and chief information officer (CIO), who spoke at AFCEA NOVA’s 12th Annual Air Force IT Day on December 11.
A set of rapid entry communications systems formed the core of networking assets for U.S. military forces providing humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations in the Philippines in the wake of the devastating November typhoon. These systems provided scalable links that allowed U.S. forces to interoperate with the Philippine government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in sharing unclassified information.
Reductions in U.S. military budgets have hit defense contractors hard, so the Commonwealth of Virginia has implemented a plan to boost the business inside its borders by reaching far outside them. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) instituted the Going Global Defense Initiative in August to assist companies with signing international clients, making up for the lost revenue at home.
Soldiers involved in the January 6-February 19 Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) will help decide what technologies will be used on the battlefield of tomorrow. The ninth annual exercise, Spiral I, incorporates more than 60 technologies in various stages of development, including Nett Warrior, unmanned aircraft and robotic ground vehicles, all of which are designed to help soldiers do one thing: perform their missions more effectively.
The U.S. Defense Department has launched a contest to push the boundaries of software development with the goal of creating programs that can analyze, diagnose and repair flaws they detect in computer networks. The Cyber Grand Challenge, managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will see teams from industry, academia and the private sector develop software programs and compete against one another in a series of competitions in 2016 for a $2 million prize.
First responders across the nation may soon be using a virtual training technology that allows multiple types of personnel, such as firefighters, police and paramedics, to train together. The prototype system is currently undergoing live tests with first responders to further refine the program before it is released to federal and state agencies some time in 2014.
The rapid adoption of commercial firmware and software for cybersystems serving the critical infrastructure is increasing vulnerabilities that potentially could lead to devastating system failures, according to a report issued by a cybersecurity organization. In some cases, these diverse systems also are threatened by their legacy nature, which is a barrier to implementing necessary cybersecurity measures.
The U.S. Navy is expanding its autonomous subsurface fleet with the introduction of a platform designed for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) as well as offensive capabilities. Dubbed the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV), the program of record should result in a system that offloads missions from other assets.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) expects to have its Defense Department Mobile Unclassified Capability (DMUC) ready for initial operational capability in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. Dr. Jennifer Carter, DISA’s component acquisition executive, said she expects 100,000 users in fiscal 2014 and “well beyond” that number after 2014. The DMUC will support multiple devices and carriers, she noted.
A new government-run competition seeks to advance the boundaries of computer network analysis and defense by developing autonomous cyberdefense capabilities, which combine the speed and scale of automation with reasoning abilities that exceed what human experts can do.
The delay in implementing the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) caused by the contract challenge to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has affected more than just the transition time frame. The network transition will cost more for the Navy because of lost funding opportunities.
The Navy lost the ability to use funds in fiscal year 2013, because the protest was not resolved until a month into fiscal year 2014. So, all the transition costs will have to be borne on funds in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Fiscal year 2013 funds earmarked for NGEN could not be applied to the transition because of the stop-work order imposed with the challenge.
The U.S. military’s readiness to fight and its ability to purchase major weapon systems for the future are both threatened by strict budget caps established under sequestration, the Joint Chiefs warned during a November 7 hearing with the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. Major weapon systems, including aircraft carriers, unmanned aerial vehicles, the ballistic missile submarine replacement program known as SSBN-X and the Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, all could be negatively impacted, the chiefs say.